12.27.10

Seniors and Pets

Posted in Assisted Living, Assisted Living Safety, Elder Care, Elderly Care, Senior Citizen at 12:43 pm by admin

Healthy Seniors Owning Pets

Pet ownership has tremendous benefits for people in any demographic, given the right circumstances, especially senior citizens. Seniors who grow close to their pets are often happier and healthier than those who live alone. It is not difficult to see why. Pets become a source of real companionships for millions of people. They talk to their pet, they feel a connection with them. They feel protected by them, and they feel like they are never alone. And because their pet is dependent on them, they take responsibility for all kinds of things: feeding their pet, taking walks, cleaning up after her. All of these things can help the senior to get physical exercise that they might not otherwise get.

For seniors who are healthy enough to live alone, pet ownership can be a tremendous help. The biggest benefit might be the most subtle. Retired seniors can often suffer from a depressed state of mind that results in a loss of purpose. When they were working in their former careers, at least they felt productive. At least they felt like they were contributing to society. But when they retire, all of that can go away. A pet, however, brings the kind of responsibility to the table that can squelch those feelings. A senior who has to take care of a pet can quickly regain a sense of responsibility, which builds confidence. Add to this the comraderie and exercise benefits, and pet ownership might be a real no-brainer!
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When Seniors Can’t Care for Their Pets

But as a senior ages further and their health begins to go south, they might not be able to take care of their beloved friend by themselves. What happens then?

Fortunately, there are a growing number of elderly care facilities–from nursing homes to assisted living facilities to retirement communities–that allow pets, and able to help care for them. Of course, there are restrictions and fees involved, but the door is opening wider and wider as baby boomers need help but don’t want to abandon their friends. This is definitely worth looking into. Seniors can search for assisted living homes that will allow dogs, cats, birds, etc.

But more often than not, assisted living homes will not allow pets, for obvious reasons. Pets require additional hands, and additional care. That means greater expenses. So if you are unable to find an assisted living home that will take a pet, you might be left with some less attractive options:

1) Find a family member who can take care of the pet. This is a great option if the pet is small and manageable. But if we are talking about a bid dog or a less manageable animal, obviously, family will not be too thrilled.

2) Take an ad out in the paper or on Craigslist and find a good home for the pet. This is not a fun option for the senior, but it might be the best one. If they can’t manage their pet any longer, of if they are unable to take their pet with them to their next living situation, let them have a say in where their pet goes. They might be able to have a say in where their animal ends up.

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